Digging under the hot sun of the Patagonian desert, an international team of scientists has unearthed the remains of a half dozen members of a new dinosaur species. The largest of the six may be the hugest meat eater yet found.
A REALLY BIG BITE
The new species--unnamed until results are published in a scientific journal--lived about 100 million years ago, says Canadian paleontologist Philip Currie, who excavated the site with his Argentine colleague Rodolfo Coria. The dino appears to be several feet longer than its cousin Giganotosaurus, which dethroned the North American size champ, T. rex, in 1993. T. rex was a crusher, with strong, blunt jaws and heavy teeth. The Argentine animals had long, narrow heads with shorter, sharper teeth, perfect for slicing up large prey.
Both adults and juveniles were uncovered, so researchers will have a rare chance to study growth and development as well as behavior. Scientists thought the large meat eaters were solitary animals. But these dinos, ranging in size from truly monstrous to merely terrifying, appear to have lived in a group, perhaps a family. "They probably went after large herding animals," says Currie. "Loners would have less chance of success." As if being set upon by eight tons of muscle and teeth weren't bad enough, it now seems that their prey had to contend with whole packs of brawny terror. Specimens--safely dead--will be on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Canada this summer.
Source Citation:"Just Be Glad They're Gone." Newsweek 135.12 (March 20, 2000): 8. Academic OneFile. Gale. BROWARD COUNTY LIBRARY. 14 Aug. 2009
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